Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sunday #13: Fiiiiish

A couple of weeks ago me and my friends (they live on the Internet - it's where the best people live) were talking about street tacos.

Mmm. Time to head back to Oregon.

I got so excited that I made a version of them the next day. I made pico de gallo and tomatillo salsa too. I made a ridiculous amount and ended up taking it to work so I wouldn't die a bloated salsa related death.

Everyone like it. They were even telling me the next day how great it was and had that "you made that" surprised look on their face. While it was nice to hear how great I was, what I really wanted was more salsa. I'm a glutton.
So later when  the Internet started talking about fish tacos I thought those would be the perfect thing to make for Sunday Dinner. Well, it was as good an excuse as any to make more salsas.

I used cod for the filling. The Internet told me that maybe tuna or mahi mahi would be good, but those were expensive at the Safeway and also frozen and hiding in plastic.

Which reminds me, I really need to find a decent fish monger. I used to go to Johnny's in Lakewood but they developed the nasty habit of breaking down their cases about before it was time to close (one time they still had an hour and a half to close.) It's possible that's just how they roll, and maybe they would have been happy to get me something out of the back if I'd told them what I wanted. Well, maybe not since the only one of the 3 that even bothered to look at me was suggesting, with her face, that I was ruining her whole life. So screw them.

So yes, cod. I "marinated" it in olive oil and lime, along with a little chili powder and garlic salt. There was hardly enough to coat all the fish so I don't know that what I did qualifies as a marinade. This is what I get for not using a recipe.

I don't cook fish very often so it's one of those things that I'm paranoid about under cooking. In my mind I was going to cook the fish in such a way that the chunks were still intact. Wrong. They flaked all over the place and kinda got mushy.

The last time the pieces were whole:
And then I turned them some more and poked them.
And then I pried all the layers apart making
sure it was cooked through.

So that's fish. Who cares about fish!

I made an avocado lime sauce.
1 whole avocado
blob of sour cream
smaller blob of mayo
clove or so of garlic
lime squeeze.

Smoosh it all up and taste a bit here and there, adding in flavor as you see fit. I don't know what else I added. Maybe some vinegar? Maybe not. I don't remember.

I put this all into a zip lock bag so it didn't get gross, the way avocado does.
It's all about presentation.

Hmmm, what else?

Green sauce:

I roasted about two pounds of tomatillos and a few Serrano peppers. You do this by washing them all well and then putting them under the broiler. I go for the second slot from the top because when you put them right under it things start to explode.
The tomatillos took about twice as long as the peppers. The instructions I've read didn't tell me to, but I cored the tomatillos because they felt pretty knobby. The Serrano I peeled because the skin felt like it would be icky. I also seeded them be slicing down one side of the pepper and then scraping everything out. Then I washed my hands really good.

It didn't matter. My stupid ass still smeared the same hand that had been peeling and seeding peppers against more than one mucus membrane. I'm a winner like that.

After those items cool I dumped them and any of their juices into the blender along with half of a finely chopped onion. Once that looked smooth enough it all went into a bowl with a big cereal spoon scoop of chopped garlic, some lime juice, some cider vinegar and enough cilantro to choke a mule. You might want to use less, I really like cilantro.

I may have done other things to this, I can't really remember. Garlic salt? Maybe! I certainly have no handle on how much lime juice (one fresh lime definitely, but no idea how much squeezy plastic lime I used) or cider vinegar I used. I just kept adding it a tablespoon or so at a time until it tasted right.

This plan isn't the best though, because the flavors build in your mouth the more you eat. Also, the flavors develop over time, so what you taste during preparation isn't what you'll end up with after it chills in the refrigerator for a while. I think this might be the sort of thing I'll be tweaking throughout my lifetime.

By the time I have old-people tongue it'll be all salt and vinegar.

I want to mention here that a lot of the recipes I looked over talked about adding water or chicken stock. I didn't do either, but I could see how the chicken stock would be a flavor enhancer in this situation. It's something I'll consider if I make this for cooking pork in or something, but since I mostly planned on shoveling it in with chips it helped that I kept it thicker.

Moving on.

My Pico de Gallo was pretty basic. The roma tomatoes at the Safeway were looking okay. I cored and quartered them and then scraped out there insides into a mesh colander that was set over a bowl. Once I'd done that with 8-10 of them I cut each quarter into thirds and then diced those up fairly small. The tomatoes went into the bowl and then I stirred the colander slurry around with the back of a spoon, getting all of the tasty tomato I could into the bowl, but leaving the seeds behind.

To this I added 3/4 of a red onion. Well, probably less than that because what I actually put in there was three quarters of a red onion that I'd had to peel a couple of moldy layers off of. These are important things for you to know.

Garlic - 5/6 cloves? Sure!

A couple serrano peppers - you could also use jalepenos (or any pepper you like, really) but the ones at the store were ugly.

And then I put in some cilantro.

How much?


How much is enough?


Though Mark disagreed with this. I feel sorry for him that he doesn't properly love and enjoy cilantro as much as he should. He said about half as much would have been good. I did use an entire bunch in there, minus the stems, so I guess he could have been right(See what I did there? I'm considering his feelings on the subject. I'm a good wife, yes I am!)  even though he wasn't (ahh well, couldn't keep it up forever.)

I added avocado chunks to the green sauce too. I think it tastes good enough on it's own, but the avocado added a creaminess that helped with the building heat from the peppers. Also, it's just tasty.

This all went on the table. I served it with shredded cabbage, lime wedges, sour cream, and some chips to shovel in extra salsa.

Mark made fish-sticks for Max because he's an enabler too!

Let me say something about the idea of fish tacos.
For a long the only place I saw selling them was Taco Time. It was just a big piece of fried fish folded inside a tortilla. They sound gross. I really don't get the point of wrapping a fried piece of fish in a tortilla. Just eat the fish and whatever other fillings with a fork.

But then I started seeing fresher looking versions with non-battered fish. I warmed to the idea. They are throwing a lot of flavors into a tortilla and calling it a wrap, not a taco. I felt the same way about this "fish taco" idea - it'd be more like a wrap. 

Anyway, maybe it was just the cod, but I won't make anything like this again. This meal was just sorta meh. Skirt steak would have made it all better.  Skirt steak makes lots of things better. Not everything - it's not bacon - but lots of things. Things like these tacos.

I guess that's all I have to say about that. Oh, I meant to enjoy left over salsa today, but while I've been slaving in the virtual file mines Mark was hogging down the last of the corn chips. Bastard.

At least Max is wearing pants?
He was also pleased that there were no vegetables we could reasonably expect him to try since they were all wrapped up in the salsas.

Hey look! He managed to find a shirt for his close up:

He wants you all to know that he very much enjoyed the fish sticks that DAD made for him. Careful Maxwell, next time I'll have DAD deep fry a carrot.

So there ya go, fish dinner.

There was no dessert.

Well, at least not for the children.

HAHAHAHAHA. In your face, Max!

Okay, so I was gonna make an apple crisp because we wanted an excuse to buy a decent vanilla ice-cream. But by the time Sunday rolled around I'd forgotten about it. When the day was practically over Mark reminded me in a very "but you saaaaaaaid you were gonna make apple crisp!" kind of way.

So I half-assed it. It's what I do.

Two peeled apples, cut into small chunks.
Sugar - preferably brown, but I was out so I used white.
Walnuts (or pecans, if you have them, those would be better)

Pan goes on medium, butter goes into pan, butter gets bubble, apples go into pan.

Shove the apples around until you're bored (and also until they've juiced up a bit) and then dump on some sugar and cinnamon.

I think the addition of some old fashioned oats would have helped, but Mark didn't think so. Would have made it a little more like a crisp at least.

Once the sugar gets good and caramelly you splash in a little vanilla, stir, and then dump it over ice-cream.

Like so:

It was really good and the kids didn't even get out of bed to complain about being cheated out of it.

So there.


  1. Hehehe. That was great. (I've never really gotten the whole 'fish taco' thing myself.)

  2. This post has too much cilantro.


    You should get a tattoo that says that.

    Or not.

    But you should FUCKING UPDATE.

  4. I should.
    Wednesday for sure.

    I was trapped watching Babylon 5 all weekend! There was no escape!

    Plus I was in a funk - and I think I woulda just bitched my way through the blog.

  5. Who cares about Fish indeed! Hmmph!

    Does this mean I can't jump on the cilantro bandwagon??

    I used to be leery of fish tacos, but as I saw more and more Taco Del Mar locations open up, with fish tacos as their specialty, I gave in and tried one. YUM! I don't know about a Taco Time fish taco, but Taco Del Mar is win!